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Many details released Monday in Powell case new to Cox family

By Sandra Yi | Posted - May 21st, 2013 @ 11:49pm



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WEST VALLEY CITY — The West Valley police investigation of the events surrounding Susan Powell's disappearance may be slowing down, but the attorney for her parents say a federal investigation is still active.

Tuesday, Chuck Cox spoke at a news conference in Seattle, saying some of the details in the 2,000 files and "tens of thousands" of pages released by police were new to him. Cox said the release made him aware of wire taps; Josh Powell's alleged affairs; and information about Powell's brother, Michael, whom police believe had a role in Susan's disappearance.

"It's clear that he was deeply involved in this, and it's a shock," Cox said.

Cox said his daughter Susan didn't have any problems with Michael and that she thought he was the most normal among those family members still associating with his father, Steven Powell. When Susan disappeared, Josh made his brother the primary beneficiary of Susan's $3.5 million life insurance policy.

After Josh's death, police focused on Michael, who salvaged his car for $100 at a junkyard in Oregon after Susan's disappearance and a visit with Josh in Utah.

When police talked to Michael, who eventually moved from Washington to Minneapolis, he was nervous and evasive.

"And when pressed, he came out very direct and said that under no circumstances would he disclose any information he had about Susan or Josh if he knew it," said West Valley City Police Chief Phil Quinlan.

The FBI would not comment on the case but Cox said there is an ongoing federal investigation, which could involve finding out what Josh's father, Steven, knows. The U.S. Attorney's office said it had no plans to further investigate the case.

"If there are new developments in the case in the future, and the West Valley City Police Department requests our assistance, we would be willing to assist again," a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office said.

Cox now plans to organize his own searches, including one near the property police searched last week outside Salem, Ore. Cox said he always believed Josh poisoned Susan's pancakes, although the newly released reports say there was no evidence of that.

Cox said the new information will be helpful in his continuing efforts to find his daughter.

"That's one of the reasons we wanted it, to find out what they really had, because that will point us in a different direction and give us a place to search for my daughter," Cox said.

He also believes police had other evidence to arrest Josh, before he took his life and the lives of his two boys. He said their decision to not arrest him was flawed.

"I still believe that their conclusion to not arrest Josh based on circumstantial evidence was flawed," Cox said. "I think there was enough. They should have done it."

Cox has said Josh's suicide was also an admission of guilt.

Retired FBI agent Lou Bertram said police lost valuable time immediately after Susan disappeared. He said they could have pressed Josh further.

"The West Valley Police Department tried to do a good job, but it wasn't there," Bertram said. "I mean, you talk about a case that went cold after 48 hours. This case was finished after 48 hours."

District Attorney Sim Gill said former West Valley City Police Chief Buzz Nielsen had been preparing to formally screen the case with his office.

"People were hopeful of finding the evidence that was necessary. People continued to work on those issues. It's just we never got it," Gill said.

Contributing: Andrew Wittenberg

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